Feadóga Stáin

Mary Bergin - Feadóga Stáin


1. Rileanna: A) Ril Gan Ainm, B) Cinnte Le Dia (Ah Surely), C) The Union Reel    2:51
2. Rileanna: A) Inion Mhic Sheain (Miss Johnson's), B) Mike Russell's    2:32
3. Portanna: A) Tom Billy's, B) The Langstern Pony    3:20
4. Rileanna: A) Sean Reid's, B) The Drunken Landlady    2:22
5. Fonn Mall: A) Liam O Raghallaigh    2:37
6. Rileanna: A) Bean Ui Chroidheain (Mrs. Crehan's), Gearoid O Comain Gerry Commane's c. An La Baisti The Rain Day    3:04
7. Portanna: A) Port Sean Seosamh, B) Sean Tiobrad Arann c. Rothai An Tsaoil The Wheels Of The World    2:54
8. Rileanna: A) Blath Na Smeire Duibhe (The Blackberry Blossom b. Maud Miller    2:31
9. Cornphiopai: A) Garrai Na Bhfeileoig, B) Miss Galvin    2:29
10. Rileanna: A) Aan Bhean Ar An Oilean (The Lady On The Island)    2:48
11. Fonn Mall: A) Mo Mhuirnin Ban    3:08
12. Rileanna: A) Mick Hand's, B) The Reel Of Mullinavat    2:57
13. Portanna: A) Port Mhuineachain (The Monaghan Jig),    3:00
14. Rileanna: A) Ta Citi Ar Shiuil Ag Cru Lei Ketty Gone A Milking    2:33

All tracks trad., arranged Mary Bergin

Mary Bergin : Feadoga Stain
Alec Finn : Bouzouki, Mandocello
Johnny Mc Donagh : Bodhran, Bones
This was Mary Bergin's first of two highly prized Tin Whistle CD's. It is beautiful traditional music backed up by Alex Finn on Bouzouki and Johnny McDonagh on the Bodhran. To understand Irish Music in it's most simple yet essential form, listen to the sound Mary gets out of a small whistle.
This album is perhaps the single most influential recording of tin whistle music ever made.

The majority of the tracks are traditional Irish jigs and reels, but Bergin's dynamic style and astounding technical mastery of the instrument set an entirely new standard to which most if not all players of the tin whistle now aspire.

Each track features either solo work by Bergin, or Bergin accompanied by a bouzouki and/or a bodhran (the traditional Irish drum) or bones (that's right, rib bones used as highly distinctive percussion instruments). For those masochistic whistle players who wish to try to play along, the liner notes include the key of the whistle she plays on each track. I cant recommend any one track over another, they are all my favorites....

It is also interesting to note that most of the whistles used on this album are Generations whistles, common whistles obtainable at music stores for less than $15.00. It is her skill that makes them sound like a million bucks. ~Kevin Hing
 Mary Bergin (born 1949) is an Irish folk musician who is widely acknowledged as one of the great masters of the tin whistle. She plays in both the Irish Traditional and Baroque styles.


Born in Shankill, County Dublin, to parents Joe and Máire (melodean and fiddle players, respectively), Mary started learning to play the tin whistle at the age of nine. She won the All Ireland tin whistle championship in 1968[citation needed]. Her two virtuosic recordings of solo tin whistle, Feadóga Stáin (1979) and Feadóga Stáin 2 (1993), have been critically cited as "outstanding and unequalled.".

Bergin moved to Spiddal, County Galway in the early 1970s and played with many of the up and coming stars of the Irish music scene, notably De Danann and Ceoltóri Laighin. She is currently a member of the group Dordán, who perform Irish traditional music and Baroque music.

In addition to releasing two solo albums, which aided the popularisation of modern traditional Irish tin whistle playing, and three albums with Dordán, she has taught hundreds of students, in Ireland, across Europe, and in the United States, to play the whistle.

As instruments are concerned, whistles go way back, some say to China of 5000 years ago. In the Celtic world, however, references to whistles date back only to approximately the 11th century. Whistle players are mentioned in some early Irish literature, and stone high crosses have carvings of players blowing on bone pipes with narrow conical bores. There is evidence that 12th-century Vikings played bird-bone whistles in the streets of Dublin; the High Street excavations in Dublin’s old Norman quarter have yielded the oldest extant specimens of Irish whistle. 

On its long journey from ancient China to present-day Ireland, the whistle has picked up a confusing array of names and nicknames. Some of these are pennywhistle, fipple flute, Irish whistle, vertical flute, tin flute, flageolet, cuisle, cuiseach, feadan, and feadóg stáin. No matter what you call it, the mechanics are the same: it is a simple six-holed instrument played with by blowing through the fipple (mouthpiece) attached to one end. 

Early in the 19th century, English-made whistles started to appear with the six finger hole arrangement that we see today (also some with the traditional thumb hole and keys). The 19th-century feadan (one definition of the word is "a hollowed stick") was made from the hollowed stalks of such plants as cane, elder, and wild reeds and grasses. As craftspeople became more proficient in bonecarving and woodworking, new materials were used for the exterior, reeds and fipples. The fipples in Medieval bone flutes (also known as flageolets), for example, were made of clay. 

One of the largest manufacturers today is the Clarke Tinwhistle Company. Its founder, Robert Clarke, is said to have made the first metal tinwhistle in 1843, modifying the design of a wooden whistle he himself owned and played. Clarke found the new tinwhistles to be brisk sellers; setting up his wheelbarrow full of whistles in the marketplace, he would play for the crowds and demonstrate how he made them. 


psb said...

fantastic. thanks miguel for these essential treats!

I have found quite a difference in tin whistle manufacturing. my fave whistle, feadog, retooled their mouthpiece and it went downhill e.g. lost its tone and warmth. i have seen $1000 tin whistles for sale at LArk in the Morning nd wonder how it could be possible to have the world's best whistle. Nice to hear this artist works with the basics.

Miguel said...

Thank you psb :)

Yes, it's amazing what one can do with a simple flute : )